Category Archives: Reviews

Thoughts on the New 52 #0 Issues: Final Week

Finally. Last week marked the end of Zero Month and as much as I enjoyed some of the issues, it wasn’t quite the event I was hoping it would be. I’m really excited to get back into the ongoing stories, especially with things like Rotworld and Rise of the Third Army coming up this month. Anyway, here are my thoughts on a few books from week four of Zero month.

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Thoughts on the New 52 #0 Issues: Week 3

Having passed the halfway mark of DC’s New 52 Zero Month, I can pretty confidently say that all these “origins” aren’t quite as exciting or revelatory as I’d hoped. Mostly I’m just ready to get through them so we can get back to the real stories. That said, there were a few gems this week, some that were completely unexpected, that made my reading this week really enjoyable. Overall this was probably the most enjoyable week of #0 so far.

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Thoughts on the New 52 #0 Issues: Week 2

Last week saw the release of 14 #0 issues at DC. Of course I’m not crazy enough to read all of them, but here’s a few I did read. If you’re interested in hearing about the other books, there’s a great podcast I’ve discovered called Pop Culture Hound. The guys there are reviewing every one of the #0 issues this month, and a lot of the books I read this week were due to their recommendations. Here’s Week 1 and Week 2. Now click on for my thought on the New 52 #0 issues.

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Thoughts on the New 52 #0 Issues: Week 1

This month marks one year since DC’s launch of the New 52 and to celebrate, DC is turning the clock back. This month, (almost) all the New 52 books will tell stories that take place before the beginning of the New 52 and are renumbered to #0 to signify this. While I’m not going to go crazy and read all of the books like I did for the launch of the New 52, an event like this does make me want to read a few books more than I normally would. Here are some thoughts on 7 of the books released this week.

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Review: Green Lantern Annual #1

Even after 7 years of fantastic Green Lantern stories, Geoff Johns, a.k.a. the Wizard of Oa, still has curtains left to pull back.

Written by Geoff Johns
Illustrated by Ethan Van Sciver and Pete Woods

• The conclusion of “THE REVENGE OF BLACK HAND”!
• Everything changes here! EVERYTHING!

(Warning, some plot points will be discussed so SPOILER WARNING is in effect)

For once, that solicitation tagline isn’t hyperbole. This annual issue of Green Lantern picks up from where issue #12 left and blows the current status quo out of the water. Geoff Johns brings in frequent collaborator Ethan Van Sciver, the man responsible for redefining the look of Hal Jordan for a new generation, to pencil this issue. Because of this, it’s very easy to try and compare this issue to 2007’s Sinestro Corps Special. Both issues were oversized, were drawn by Van Sciver, and act as the opening shot to the next major GL storyline. Only time will tell if Rise of the Third Army stacks up against Sinestro Corps War, but it is a very promising start.

This prologue builds heavily on plot threads carried over from Blackest Night, Brightest Day, and War of the Green Lanterns. Johns has had the Guardians of the Universe, the creators of the Green Lantern Corps, on one way descent into madness and despotism and this is where the crap hits the fan. The Guardians decide that the only way to rid the universe of chaos is to eliminate free will. This, first and foremost, requires the destruction of the universe’s greatest embodiment of will, the Green Lantern Corps. The ends that the Guardians are prepared to go to meet this goal are disturbing, the means by which they achieve it are shocking, and the overall implications are terribly exciting. Oh, and yeah, that cover isn’t just for show.

I can’t get to far into a plot discussion without spoiling the issue, but here’s a few things that this issue brings to the table: the resolution of the Revenge of Black Hand arc (for now), the first glimpse of the Chamber of Shadows and the First Lantern that have been teased since War of the Green Lanterns, the fates of Hal Jordan and Sinestro, and the Guardians going all out crazy.

There’s not much more that I can say about the art other than it is exactly what we’ve come to expect from Ethan Van Sciver on Green Lantern. The epilogue, drawn by Pete Woods, was suitably disturbing and executed extremely well.

There’s a sense that Geoff Johns is nearing the close of his epic Green Lantern saga. The desperate tone, the escalation of the Guardian’s tactics, the twinge of hope in the form of (Highlight for Spoliers!!!) Hal and Sinestro’s rings, all give an “Empire Strikes Back” feel that can only lead to a third act upheaval where the good guy triumphs. Then again, I thought that Johns would leave after Blackest Night ended and here he is, over two years later, still plugging away. Regardless, I can’t wait to see what Johns has up his sleeve with the borg-like Third Army and the new Green Lantern Baz. This is an exciting time to be a Green Lantern fan and a great time to jump in.

Rating: 9.5- This is consistently one of the best super-hero comics out there. Read it.

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Review: Superman Annual #1

It’s not perfect, but it’s A LOT better than what we’ve been getting.

Written by Scott Lobdell and Fabian Nicieza
Illustrated by Pascal Alixie, Marco Rudy, Tom Raney, Elizabeth Torque, and Mico Suayan

• Abducted by a group of mysterious aliens, Superman is dragged to a remote alien galaxy to take part in THE GAMES, a world hopping game of cat-and-mouse where players are hunted for sport.
• Can even the help of a mysterious new GREEN LANTERN overcome the might of an alien empire?

See that solicitation up there? Forget I even posted that. None of that happens. See, somewhere between the time of solicitation and the book’s actual release this issue had a complete creative shift. So while you may have been hoping to see that new Green Lantern in a cosmic romp by the great Keith Giffen, you actually get the further Wildstorming of the DC universe. The thing is it’s not half bad.

This is Scott Lobdell’s big debut on Superman and a lot is hinging on his performance. Since the launch of the New 52, the Superman title has had two different creative teams, neither of which made the character modern or relevant. In fact, I would say that this book has done more harm to the perception of Superman in comic book community that the bloated New Krypton saga or JMS’s much derided “Grounded” storyline. With Grant Morrison leaving Action Comics soon, all eyes are on Lobdell.

This issue begins with a flashback on the Daemonite home world, where a young prince confronts his mother about the death of his wife and the genetic decline of the Daemonites. Later on in this issue we discover that this prince goes on to become the villain Helspont, who dominates this issue. I admit to not being very well versed in the Wildstorm mythos (I’ve only read Planetary and early Authority) so I don’t know how the character’s portrayal in this issue reflects his earlier appearances. That said, the character works very well as a Darkseid level villain for Superman. Helspont actually gives Superman a concussion by throwing him into the moon, and it’s awesome.

While the majority of the issue deals with the fight between Superman and Helspont, there are three interludes where Helspont’s minions visit with important alien characters in the DC universe. Martian Manhunter, Starfire, and Hawkman are all offered a place in something called “The Thirteen Scions of Salvation,” which sounds like something straight out of Battlestar Galactica. These interactions are left unresolved and it’s unclear where the story threads will pick back up, though I’m sure it’s all set to build up to a major crossover event. Grifter and Deathblow also make appearances in this issue. You can expect Red Hood and the Outlaws (also written by Lobdell), Grifter, Hawkman, and Stormwatch to all play a role in this sure to be upcoming event.

Pascal Alixie, the main artist for this issue, shares page space with four other pencillers which, even for an oversized annual, is a bit excessive. Unfortunately the artists were not credited with what pages they actually worked on, so I’m a bit unsure who to congratulate and who to critique. The art, for the most part, was very good. The opening sequence on Daem, the scenes featuring Martian Manhunter and Hawkman, and the various double page spreads with Superman and Helspont were are really well done. However, there were a few pages where Superman’s anatomy is a little off, such as the last page where he has gorilla arms. Also, holy cow Starfire, put those away! The kids are watching!

This isn’t the book that’s going to put Superman back in the good graces of the seething masses of comic book-dom, and the $4.99 price tag is pretty off-putting even with the larger page count. Oh, and Scott Lobdell spams thought bubbles like a fiends. If you’re a fan of the character (like I am) or a longtime Wildstorm reader there’s definitely a lot to enjoy here. There are a lot of cool revelations, but also a lot of unresolved plot threads with no clear indication on where to follow next. If you’re craving as much Superman as you can get, pick this up, otherwise I would wait until September’s Superman #0 to get in on the Lobdell train.

Verdict: 7.0-This issue might be important later on, but right now it’s for Superman and Wildstorm fans only.


Batman Incorporated #1

I’ve been a huge fan of Grant Morrison’s Batman run since the Batman R.I.P. arc. I know I’ve talked about it a lot in this blog, very recently in fact. The story was set to conclude in vol. 1 of Batman Inc., which launched back in 2010. The series was very good, but was plagued by delays. Ten issues were solicited, but only 8 were actually released before DC launched the New 52 and the book was put on hiatus. The last two issues were released as a single issue titled “Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes” late last year, wrapping up what Morrison called the “first season” of Batman Inc. Now, as a part of DC’s second wave of New 52 books, we have vol. 2 of Batman Incorporated. The big questions here is how is Morrison going to finish his multi-year long epic now that DC’s universe has been rebooted. How much of the original run still happened the way it was presented and how will this affect the conclusion of the story? Well, going off of this issue, the answer is not very much. Morrison comes back in full force with a first issue that rivals that of his own Batman and Robin #1.

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FCBD The New 52 #1

Note: I started writing this post about a week ago, but then I got my tonsils taken out and kind of forgot it, sorry. Here it is now, posted as originally written although slightly dated.

This past weekend was a busy time for me. It was graduation time at my alma mater and several of my close friends graduated. My fiancée and I are less than a month away from our wedding (Aw Yeah!) and now that school is out she’s headed home to start getting everything ready for the big day. I also went and saw The Avengers with a big group of friends and I absolute loved it. Why can’t DC get their act together and pull off something like this. Well, they did get one thing right and that was their offering for Free Comic Book Day this year. If you aren’t familiar with FCBD, it is a day, usually the first Saturday in May, where comic book publishers release special free books to entice readers to visit their local comic shop. In recent years the bigger comic companies have used FCBD to tease upcoming storyline or events, such as DC’s Blackest Night #0 a few years back. This year they have outdone themselves with The New 52 #1, a full length story by Geoff Johns with art by Jim Lee, Ivan Reis, Gene Ha, and Kenneth Rocafort. It doesn’t get much better than that.

 

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Dial H #1

Wow, DC really went all out this week, huh? Wrapping up my reviews of the first four books of DC’s second wave of New 52 books is Dial H by China Mieville and Mateus Santolouco. China Mieville, a best-selling novelist with a PhD and a hand in politics, almost made it into DC (Vertigo to be exact) a few years ago with a Swamp Thing series that never got published. Now he’s making his DC debut on a book that by all accounts should be a Vertigo book, but the DCU is all the better for its inclusion. Click more to read on.

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G. I. Combat #1

DC decided to cancel two of its war genre books that launched with the New 52 at issue #8. Those books were Men of War, a by the books tale of soldiers living in a world with superhumans and Blackhawks, a kind of DC version of G.I. Joe. These were consistently the two lowest selling books of the New 52 and received lukewarm reviews, so it’s not very surprising that they got the axe. What is kind of surprising is that DC decided to launch a new war book as part of its second wave. This time the book will revive three DC war concepts, the main feature being “The War That Time Forgot” with rotating stories “The Unknown Soldier” and “The Haunted Tank.” I really admire taking chances with lesser known concepts and genres outside of super-heroics. Unfortunately, this book sucks, and that is all. (Actually there’s more, read on).

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